Sura As Sajdah (The Prostration)
ذَٰلِكَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ
6. That is He, the All Knower of the unseen and the seen, the All Mighty, the Most Merciful.
This verse means that everything which takes place in the heavens and the earth, and the decree and plans that Allah has made for these, are all easy for Him (Allah) because He is the Knower of the hidden and the seen. He knows every single thing that is hidden from all the creations and that which is visible to them. He knows that which is hidden from the eyes and hearts of men and that which is visible and known to them. He knows the past as well as the future, the existent, as well as the non-existent. Nothing is hidden from His knowledge, and nothing escapes His sight.
He is the All Mighty. He controls all matters and affairs of His creations, and is supremely powerful over all things. He is also extremely compassionate and most Merciful. Hence, He shows mercy, leniency, love and kindness to His servants. Thus, with these outstanding attributes, He decrees and governs the affairs of all His creations.
In this verse, there is a warning and an admonition to man, telling him that he should be careful of all his actions and beliefs, for certainly, Allah knows what he conceals and what he reveals, and will reward or punish him for what he has done. He should therefore have the correct beliefs in his heart, speak that which is good with the tongue, and do good actions with the limbs. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.83, Maktaba Rasheediya)
Sura As Sajdah goes further in verse 7 to state:
الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ ۖ وَبَدَأَ خَلْقَ الْإِنْسَانِ مِنْ طِينٍ
7. Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay.
As mentioned by many great commentators including the companion, Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), the verse means that Allah has perfected the creation of everything. He has created everything in accordance to its function, and in accordance to what He intended from it. Accordingly, each creature functions in accordance to Allah’s perfect design.
Therefore, even if something does not appear to be physically beautiful, it does not mean that its design and creation is not perfect. Each has been created in a manner that is suitable for its functions, lifestyle and environment. The shape, the look, the size of the limbs of each animal differ greatly from each other, yet, each has been put in its proper place and has been well designed by Allah. (Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet, Vol.8, Pg. 432, Darul Fikr / Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.83, Maktaba Rasheediya)
Some commentators have mentioned that the verse refers to the fact that Allah has created everything good. He has not made anything bad. The reason for this is that whatever Allah has created in this world, it has been made in accordance to His wisdom, and in consideration to what benefit it gives to the world. Hence, everything is good in itself. Bad comes about when it is used in the wrong manner, or when it functions against the guidelines which Allah has prescribed for it. For example, there are animals that are detested by men, like the dogs, pigs etc., and there are others that are beastly in nature, like the lions, tigers etc. Although these may, at times, cause harm to man, yet, in terms of the benefit they give to the world as a whole, and with respect to the purpose of their creation, they are not bad. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.83, Maktaba Rasheediya)
The verse continues by saying, ‘and He began the creation of man from clay’. It means that Allah began the creation of man by first creating Adam (A.S), the father of mankind. In creating him, Allah used clay of the earth, and breathed the soul into him. With this, the lifeless clay turned into an animate object that began to move about. This shows the great power and ability (Qudrah) of Allah in that He has created life from a lifeless object.
The other verses continue to speak of Allah’s great power in creating the progeny of Adam (A.S). Verses 8 and 9 state:
ثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهُ مِنْ سُلَالَةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ مَهِينٍ
8. Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water.
ثُمَّ سَوَّاهُ وَنَفَخَ فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِهِ ۖ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَا تَشْكُرُونَ
9. Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul, and He gave you hearing (ears), sight (eyes) and hearts. Little is the thanks you give!
It means that after creating Adam (A.S), Allah created the rest of mankind (the progeny of Adam) from a liquid which comes from both the male and the female. The verse describes this liquid as a ‘despised water’, referring to the fact that man’s creation stems from a low, weak and impure discharge which comes from both the male and female.
Having started to create life in the womb of the mother (by causing her to conceive), Allah then fashioned man by taking him through different stages of development. He took him from the stage of being a ‘mixed liquid’ (sexual discharge of the male and female), to being a clot of congealed blood. Then to a lump of flesh which changed into bones and then covered with flesh. During this time, Allah fashioned and shaped the body in the womb of the mother. After this, Allah breathed the soul into the body and made it into a beautiful human being, who gradually progressed to the stage of completion. While man went through these diverse phases of development, Allah created in him the senses of hearing, sight and the heart (intelligence), along with other faculties.
All these have been created in man so that he may use them to be rightly guided on the face of the earth. He is required to use his sense of hearing to listen to the truth which has been revealed by Allah. He must use his sight to recognize Allah’s favors, His wonderful creations and His greatness, and should use his heart and intelligence to choose the truth and to choose guidance. With all these great favors, man is expected to show gratitude to Allah through worship and obedience, but unfortunately, he fails to do so, and becomes ungrateful. It is about this conduct of man, Allah says, ‘Little is the thanks you give’. It means that man’s gratitude to Allah is very little.